When Lake Geneva’s dilemma over the Hillmoor golf course comes to mind, I immediately think of Marsden Park in Fennimore, my home town.
In north-central Grant County, this farming community of over 2,000 souls is home to Southwest Technical College and a Ray-o-Vac plant.
Bur one could argue that its major feature is Marsden Park, which originated as a parcel of land donated to the city by Dr. William Marsden and designated as a public park. Though there were periods with financial problems and public disinterest, in the almost 100 years of its existence, the park has always been an accessible public space available for the many activities people can devise.
Winding roads with surfaces of fine white gravel wound their way through well groomed greenery. The house where I grew up lay along the north border of the park, which literally became a second back yard.
About 20 years ago I wrote about Marsden Park and the piece appeared in the local Fennimore Times.
Having such close proximity to such a public space in my early years, it is impossible not to think of Fennimore’s Marsden Park in relation to Lake Geneva’s Hillmoor. There are many differences between the two sites; but a conclusion seems to take the form of a question: does popular resort Lake Geneva have a public park capable of serving the numbers who frequent the city? I mean a park where people can relax, wander through green space and picnic, party and partake of nature’s abundance. After all, isn’t that something one expects of vacation places like Lake Geneva?
One successful doctor in a small community left a legacy providing such a facility. Granted, the problem with Hillmoor and Lake Geneva is much more complicated. Yet the lakeshore of abundance certainly has the resources capable of producing generous assistance in resolving the Hillmoor problem. Fennimore’s Marsden Park where Wisconsin’s four seasons can be embraced, has resources that Lake Geneva needs, a public space where we can embrace our own outdoors.
Written by Guest Columnist to the Lake Geneva Regional News and retired Badger High School teacher, Bruce Johnson